Monday, November 25, 2019

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

Slade Gorton will be 92 years old in a little more than a month and last held public office almost 20 years ago. And thus, while I applaud his call to fellow Republicans to judge the President on facts not fantasies, where is the Congressperson or Senator who would now be in the direct line of fire, willing to risk political life and limb to tell those assembled that what looks like a duck and quacks like a duck is in fact an aquatic bird, mostly smaller than a swan or goose found in both fresh and sea water?

I am sick and tired of only the sick or (re)tired Republican politician exhibiting (figuratively, not literally) the balls to confront the King. Where are those  bastions of hope of righteous indignation: Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Lisa Murkowski, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Mitt Romney, Mike Simpson, Will Hurd? You have always known the clear and present danger of Mr. Trump, from the first day of his presidency to the last disaster witnessed. Where has your voice gone? Where is your belief in something greater than party? I know where it certainly appears to be: vanished into thin air, as likely to be found as Elvis is to return to the building.

To the New York Times: come back to me when someone on the right with a political pulse writes as has Mr. Gorton. Until then this is not news, just the sound of one hand clapping.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Fox Tales

("Why Fox News Slimed a Purple Heart")

And now comes the inevitable "washed up, bitter, has been, never was" response to this op-ed from everyone at Fox News maybe all the way to the small hands of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Smith unlocks no new(s) secrets. If we didn't already comprehend the catalyst behind Fox Tales we were not paying attention (for the record,  I am not and even I get it).

"Fox Tales" would actually be a more accurate nom re plume for this enterprise. It does not report but rather creates: propoganda its vocabulary, misdirection its genius.

If one is untethered to facts then the possibilities are endless: every history of a life becoming mere footnote fully subject to being reconstructed into whatever monster Dr. Frankenstein can manufacture. The more absurd the more intriguing. The more damaging, the better.

And so the "we hardly knew him" Mr. Smith does not go to Washington, does not pass go and collect $200, does not get a seat at any table except his own Last Supper. Minimized, ridiculed and discarded.

We know the playbook and yet we haven't created the perfect defense to stop it. For while truth has a decided liberal bias, deception is the unquestioned continued province of Fox Tales. Sly Fox indeed.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Cannibal

Donald Trump is now a cannibal, willing to eat his own in an act of self preservation.

Those who have come before the House did not abandon the administration. Rather they embraced the concept of how our government was intended to function and how a President was not. And for their fealty not to one man but to the most fundamental and critical concepts of democracy they have been subject to unrelenting attack by Mr. Trump and his henchmen. 

The men and women now thrust into the middle of this investigation have dedicated their working lives to preserving and protecting this nation, not as Democrats or Republicans but as patriots, in the best possible definition of that word. And yet those who would deny their truths have branded them as traitors and condemned them as mere stooges for an illegitimate cause.

The people who have testified did not seek this spotlight. Many have seemingly deliberately avoided it over the decades of service. But now that they have come forward, they have spoken with a dignity and clarity that is totally foreign to the man who would tweet their collective demise.

Mr. Trump, though you would willingly destroy the reputation of anyone who has the audacity to challenge your abuses, know that what you are looking at are those who truly make America great. And while you may emerge from this examination of your actions with your presidency intact you will never be anything more than you appear now: a man loyal to no one or nothing but your own survival.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A boo-boo

So what lesson did we learn here?
Doctors are fallible: perhaps. 
I am a hog for attention: now you're getting it.

I write this to you with two free arms, the cast having been relegated to yesterday's news as it turned out I had suffered but a mere boo-boo. My orthopedist releasing me from bondage and giving me the greatest of gifts: the opportunity to write a second piece focusing on my favorite topic. Kind of a double good break.

I sat around a dinner table last evening with several family members, all of whom have recently coped with health issues of varying degrees of significance, from troublesome to bordering on uh-oh. But none of them had received a sliver of the outpouring of support I had garnered over the past few days. Could anything be better than not actually being injured but gathering enough sympathy to fill the deepest ocean, with a few drops still left over?

So it turns out the attending physician misread the x-ray, believing a vein (in my case, maybe "vain") had been proof of great insult to my body. His boo-boo was in thinking my boo-boo was something more than mere line on a screen signifying next to nothing. But I am told this is not an unusual error, and I hold no animus towards the man who was responsible for my last blog post. In fact, I owe him a great debt.

You see, my readership has fallen off in recent weeks as people grow ever more fatigued by you know who and you know what. But my numbers spiked, like looking at a jumping heartbeat on a screen, when the topic of the moment turned to my personal failings. For those who follow my writing like nothing more than a look into the world of someone whose life is always seemingly one step away from the latest oops, virtual if not actual.

I should have asked the doctor to give me the soft cast for I could possibly have used it to my advantage in the 
future. But lacking the requisite quickness of mind, I left my prop on the cutting room floor, relegating it to imminent certain death. 

I miss my cast.

Yes, doctors are fallible, for life teaches us that none (well, maybe except for our Supreme Leader) are perfect. But for me, the greater life lesson is that people are willing, anxious really, to give you their support and there is absolutely nothing I need more than your undivided attention.

I think my boo-boo is starting to ache a little. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Stand up you're rockin' the boat

I dreamed last night I was in the halls of Congress
And by some chance I was called to testify
And there I stood and I swore to tell the whole truth
But Republicans they swore that I'd lie

For those people all said
"Get out, get out you're rockin' the boat"
Those people all said
"Get out, get out you're rockin' the boat"
And the Devil did tweet as I spoke
With his small vocab and his big ego
"Get out, get out, get  out, get out
Get out you're rockin' my boat"

I testified what I knew to be the whole truth
And some did clap when I told them what went down
But those who swore by the Devil were unhappy
And they swore I was only just a clown

For those people all said
"Beware, you're in the Devil's way"
Those people all said
"Beware, beware of the games you play
For the Devil will make you suffer
With your fancy words and your soulful tones
Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up
Shut up you're rockin' his boat"

And while I feared he would surely seek his revenge
I walked outside to catch a breath of air
And as I stood, someone hollered, "You have saved us"
That's the moment I sang out, "Thank the Lord"

And I said to those gathered there
"Stand up and rock the boat"
I said to those gathered there
"Stand up and rock the boat
For the Devil can't pull you under
With his checkered past and tv remote"

"Stand up stand up, stand up, stand up,
Stand up and rock the boat
Stand up, stand up, stand up, stand up
Stand up and rock the boat"

"Stand up"

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Fall

This may be the hardest piece I have ever typed.

It started out like any other day, in fact better than most. The sky was an untarnished slate of blue, the wind was in momentary hibernation and the air was as clean and pure as Marie Yovanovitch.

As my son and I began our hike, we contemplated several miles of mostly gentle, wholly uncomplicated terrain. The last of the leaves had left their former residence and now formed a blanket of protection for Mother Earth. But winter had sent notice that it was anxious to flex its muscles and thus a small, almost imperceptible coat of white acted as overcoat for the ground. Beneath our feet on each step was a double layer of potential trouble. And underneath, not visible to the eye, were those intermittent rocks announcing their presence.

But really I protest too much for these combined forces were of little note as we began our trek, reaching our ultimate goal and gazing out on a landscape that stretched out for miles below us. We had been here before, but each time was as the first. It was the image of New England on a mid-November day, with the snow revealing itself on the distant trails of a mountain as if it were ready to accept its first paying customers, and the town below seemingly frozen as if it were merely a picture of itself.

Then we commenced the trek back from where we began (this being an "in and out" hike). Soon into our descent my son noticed that the leaves were now sticking to the sole of his shoes, forming a shield against traction. And so I saw a similar issue emanating from the bottom of my feet. But, we would shortly be back to the car and thus I paid scant notice.

And then I fell, for the first time.

I had clearly seen this rock, flat and unencumbered. But as my feet slipped out from under me and I went airborne, I heard myself let out a small shriek, for I am nothing if not a wimp. While pride did not go before this fall, my son's camera, in its case on my back, did. And so, it acted as bumper and I landed with but the gentlest of thuds. Luckily, it appeared the camera had also survived.

We have been hiking for many years as a family, hundreds, maybe thousands of miles between today and that first step into the wilderness. And I could recall not once when I had ended up in an unintended position. So, as my son's concern turned into laughter as he saw that only my ego was bruised, we continued our march, clear in the mutual understanding that this had been but a fluke, the equivalent of someone like Donald Trump being semi-elected President of the United States.

And then I fell for the second time. (God, I hope this not an omen for his re-election)

This rock I did not see as it lay camouflaged beneath the leaves and snow. And I stepped on it at such an angle that my right ankle twisted and I was once more performing a gravity defying act in the air. I must have landed on my left arm and shoulder though my airborne cry related to the momentary discomfort I was experiencing in my foot.

My son stared at me, once more with concern in his eyes, coupled with more than a hint of bewilderment. I took a few short hops on my ankle, limped for several steps and then pronounced myself embarrassed but otherwise fit.

And that was the end of the story. Almost.

We finished our journey, got in the car and returned home. I counted myself fortunate to have escaped harm and looked forward to the balance of the day, unencumbered by any physical reminders of my mishaps.

Until about an hour later. We were sitting in the kitchen and I happened to press my right hand on my left forearm. It was tender, and more than that, it appeared to be slightly misshapen. I took off the top layer of clothing and indeed the angle from shoulder to fingers seemed not quite right.

After short consultation with those gathered around, I put a winter coat on, walked out the door and headed to the hospital emergency room, but a few blocks away. My family gathered there with me in short order.

It is actually a great experience going to your local, small hospital in the middle of a work day. My information was taken within seconds and within minutes I was being attended to by several people. X- rays followed and the attending announced that, yes, I had a small non-displaced fracture in my forearm. One of those soft casts was soon encasing my arm and I was advised to see my local orthopedist in the days to follow.

One more wrinkle.

As I was about to leave the hospital, the attending said the radiology department had looked at the pictures and did not believe that dark line was a fracture. So, at the moment there is a split decision, the report I received noting the two disparate determinations.

I now await the deciding vote early next week. In the meantime, I am weighed down by this cast, making life a little more complicated.

And making this possibly the hardest piece I have ever typed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Let THOSE People Go

It is not a statement of virtue, of strength, of moral courage. Rather, "Let THOSE people go" is the sound of a likely majority on the Supreme Court abandoning the core principle of American greatness, turning dreams into nightmares and exposing the ugly underbelly of bigotry and hatred that is far, far too prevalent and persistent a poison coursing through this nation's veins.

It is a solution in search of a problem. The Dreamers have not been a scourge on our society, have not drained our resources, have not threatened our present nor our future. This is not cutting out of a disease but rather casting out those whose crime is not one of commission but merely of circumstance of birth. 

For those who would find reason and basis to further President Trump's obsessive quest to "purify" our land, there is only shame. If I had a vote, mine would be to direct "Let THOSE people go" at those justices who would do injustice under pretenses they well know to be manipulated and false.

We are better than this. Or at least we should be.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Defamation of Characters

Twitter filed suit today on behalf of its 280 characters against the President of the United States. The suit seeks unspecified damages together with an immediate injunction against Donald Trump from using their platform to further what they describe as "an endless stream of misdirection flowing into a river of lies and emptying into an ocean of misinformation."

There was immediate reaction from many of Mr. Trump's most fervent supporters:

"Twitter is controlled by immigrants, James Comey, Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, Pocahontas and Joe Biden's son."( IT, DT Jr. and ET, who wish to remain anonymous to protect the guilty- hint as to their identity, oh hell you don't need one)

 "Is Twitter really spelled with three T's and only one R?" (Rick Perry)

"This is an unconstitutional infringement on the right of our leader to act without thinking, to respond to crisis after crisis in ways most surely to deflect attention from his myriad criminal enterprises, to inflict the most damage in the most ways imaginable with the least effort possible" (the Justice Department)

While most of the 280 characters refused comment, some were willing to reveal their thoughts (in 280 characters or less, of course):

"He gives a bad name to all characters, but maybe mine the most. I can't count the times I have landed directly in the middle of "FAKE NEWS!" (Character 5)

"I have spent my career in public service, but now I feel like I am nothing more than a character out of a bad Godfather movie" (Character 37)

"I am in agreement with my brothers and sisters, but quite honestly he has hardly ever called on me to speak on his behalf" (Character 280)

This comes on the heels of the lawsuit initiated by DC Studios against Mr. Trump to cease and desist in his attempt to physically impersonate The Joker. The studio contends that ticket sales are being damaged because the President is giving The Joker a bad name.

In response, Mr. Trump has, quite naturally tweeted a response.

"I won the election by the largest margin in the history of the world. Even Putin called me the other day to congratulate me, once again, for my great victory. These 280 characters won't even give you their names, they just go by numbers, as if they can hide from the FBI, which is either the best agency in the world or a corrupt arm of the Democratic party depending almost solely on what I ate for breakfast, or whether Sean Hannity is on vacation. These lawsuits are a joke, and if anyone is to blame it is that stooge Cohen, or maybe Guiliani, depending on whether I decide to throw him under the bus. And, did I tell you how big the crowd was at my inauguration?" (Donald J Trump, in what turned out to be a multiple tweet).

Character 280 just amended his statement as follows: "That lunatic has to be stopped."

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Charity Begins at Home

("No Charitable Thought for Donald Trump")

So what if he has to pay $2 million to rectify his wrongdoing. That is mere Trump change as the President convinces us that his only fault was taking too literally that charity begins (and ends) at home.

This is but the smallest ripple in an ocean of transgressions. We can hardly recall the kerfuffle with Stormy Daniels, the Trump University imbroglio now mere error of hyperbole and even the Mueller report, which was to reveal what Mr. Trump was hiding under the covers (oh wait, that was also the Daniels affair), largely a historical (and some would argue, hysterical) footnote. 

So this latest boo boo might have a hard time ranking among the top ten atrocities and could well be considered yesterday's news yesterday.  

The bar for this man has now been set so low that many will look favorably upon our cheater in chief for "happily" agreeing to pony up to actual charities the money he stole from the cookie jar. 

And you doubted this was the person who could make America great again. Or at least spin your dough into his gold.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Sharing Clothes, And A Heart


("Who Will Wear My Dead Husband's Clothes?")

This is sad and beautiful tale and it serves as stark reminder of our connections.

While her world has been deeply shaken by her husband's sudden death, there is a larger universe battered each day by man's inhumanity to man, lives upended due to the cruelties needlessly inflicted.

And so, where better place to find a home for these clothes? 

These garments worn in the tomorrow's to come as a reminder of what has been lost and as statement of what we gain when we understand we all wear the same clothes whoever we are and wherever we may be. And that all our hearts are broken as one.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Tweetin' The Night Away

 ("How Trump Reshaped the Presidency in 11,000 Tweets")

In Mr. Trump's hands, actually fingers, it is the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, casting aside alliances, treaties and lives as if they were all wholly without value. All accomplished in but a few characters from a man lacking any.

An alternate universe, filled with the thoughts of someone consumed solely with the state of his own being, not dissuaded by facts or logic from his hatreds, his biases, his proclamations announcing a rage without predicate or boundary.

It is Mr. Trump's playground as he Twitter's dumb and dumber while this planet burns. It is not governing but ranting, not weighing but spewing, not discussing but disgusting.

It deserves not our review but our rebuke. But it is all we get from Mr. President. And it brings shame upon the man and a stain upon our nation.

Friday, November 1, 2019

A Note to Standard Time

I do not like thee standard time
No I do not like thee at all

You are a common criminal 
Robbing me of color and light

I do not wish to fall back on you
For you are not a soft landing

    So unless turning back the clock
Means I now have hair again

If you don't mind
And even if you do

I would ask that you just move on
To some other place that finds you appealing

And give me back what you have pilfered
Including some of that Halloween candy